Monday, September 28, 2009


Well, we made it to the International Plowing Match in Earlton on Friday. We caught the train in North Bay at 7:00a.m. and arrived at the Tent City at 10:15a.m. It was Amy's first train trip. The scenery of the wilderness lakes of Northern Ontario brought back some nice memories for me. Hats off to the people of the Earlton area for pulling this off. The IPM is always an amazing sight, but to realize that it was done in Northern Ontario for the first time - where infrastructure, accomodations, food vendors, and emergency personnel are not available without much planning - well,.. remarkable...
Amy had another first, getting a chopper ride with her dad.

Also, for the first time, Misty Haven Alpacas yarn and rovings are conveniently available in another yarn store in downtown North Bay. Congratulations to Rae Brenne, for opening Stix and Stones this summer. Rae stocks some of the nicest yarns available from around the world. Before her store even opened, Rae searched me out at my farm to see my products as she knew her customers would be looking for locally farmed, Canadian milled quality alpaca yarns.
Here's a picture of Rae in her store and that's Misty Haven Alpaca yarn and rovings on the shelf beside her!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Harvest Rewards!

It's the nature of the fleece to yarn business that you have to wait a very long time to see the end result of your labour.

Just prior to last weekend's studio tour, I picked up part of my mill order from the bus parcel office. While still in town doing errands, I ran into my pal Rebecca in a plaza parking lot. "Want to see my new yarn?" I asked? We ripped open the box and found my new yarns.
They still felt damp.
"WOW - FRESH yarn!", Rebecca exclaimed, rubbing the skein against her neck.

I've never heard my harvest called fresh. We sheared late May, it takes quite a bit of time to skirt and sort the fibre properly and then get it to the mill. I was fortunate to get some of the order back by September. There is often a 6-7 month wait at the mini-mills.

Here's the FRESH stuff....a 3 ply sock blend I've named 'Blueberry Smoothie" and a grey-green alpaca/silk blend "Nipissing Granite".

This past weekend's Country Roads Tour was very successful and I enjoyed meeting many new visitors to the store.

Today, the International Plowing Match opens in Earlton, Ontario (new New Liskeard). This is the very first time in the IPM's long history that it has been situated in Northern Ontario. The people in the area have been working so hard to make this a success. I'm looking forward to taking the special excursion train for the day with my family. I've worked a booth at previous IPM's in Eastern and Southern parts of Ontario and it's always been a great time.
This will be Amy's first trip on a train. Such adventure awaits!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Country Roads Tour

If you are in the vicinity of Nipissing-Almaguin (North Bay/Restoule/Callander) area this coming weekend of Sept 19th and'll want to take in the 29th Country Roads Fall Tour.

We are Studio #3 on the tour. Come and check out our new yarns, handwoven and handknit accessories. Find out about alpacas and the wonderful fibre that they produce.

Along the tour, besides Misty Haven Alpacas Yarn and Garments, you will find the work of 13 other unique artists and artisans:

Maggie's Mouse Nest, At Wit's End, Jack Lockhart Art Gallery, Afrocentric North, Stroke of Genius, Ash Creek Pottery, Trach Art Studio, Edna Scott Art Studio, Studio in the Grove, PieBird B&B, Board's Honey Farm, Rockcliffe Pottery and Craft Shop, Commanda County Gardens

Find more information at:

Green with Envy

Well, I think I can say with all certainty now that I am a farmer.

There was a day that when eyeing a friend in a great suit or an exquisite pair of leather boots, I might have been quite jealous and in dire need of a shopping trip. However, the other day, while reading my newly arrived issue of "Camelid Quarterly", I spotted an article written by my friend, Marj Brady of Amazing Graze Alpacas. The article was a humorous take on manure management. While the article was entertaining, I was more captivated by the photo of Marj's pastures.

Yes -- I had a serious case of Pasture-Envy. Marj's were lush and green...the same shade of green as my jealousy.

Gary and I have been keeping our eye out for an inexpensive small-scale manure spreader for a long time. Most of the used ones are for large tractors and the new small scale ones are quite pricey. It just so happens that on friday, I had to run an errand to "the tractor place". If I hadn't seen Marj's photo earlier, would I have asked "the tractor guy" once more whether he ever came across a used small-scale spreader?

Well, I did. And he did! The right size, the right price and home it came...

Isn't it a thing of beauty, too? Not one of those shiny metal things, this beauty has a history to it!

It works like a charm. The sh-t really flies!!! In fact, it worked so well, my 13 year old daughter thought it looked like more fun to work with her dad than to go shopping at the mall. An that in itself is priceless!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Living to Dye

For those that know me... lately, I've fallen in love with colour...colour....colour.

We all know that alpaca fleece comes in a wide range of natural shades from snow white, browns to true black. However, everyone who markets their homegrown yarns know that the bright fashion colours fly off the shelves faster than anything. So my journey into dyeing was purely business....but WOW, I've found that discovering and playing with colour on my rovings and yarn is a new passion. I do my handpainting on a table in my sunroom that looks over my front I can watch my chickens and alpacas while experimenting with colour blending on my yarn.

And yes...I watch chickens! We've acquired some lively little young chickens this summer. Buff Banties and Silkies. When I mention how fun they are to watch when I talk to people...I get one of two reactions...1) strange looks from people as they kind of take a step back or 2) adamant agreement from people who have ever lived on a farm with 'real' chickens (not the commercial modified Franken-chicken). I had my sister visiting from the big city and we ate supper in the sunroom while watching my 'happy chickens'...even she agreed that watching my happy chickens was better than anything on TV! Still waiting for the first eggs, though! Hearing the cock-a-doodle-do from 'Bates', the silkie rooster brings a smile to my face every morning. That's worth gold, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Post at Misty Haven Alpacas!

Welcome World to Misty Haven Alpacas.

Today started like most of my days. Get up, let the dogs out (Molly and Lucy), put the coffee on, out to the barn to let the chickens out, feed the alpacas and llamas, feed Smokey the barn cat, back home to feed Beatrice the house cat, have coffee with Gary and Amy.

Now the day starts....